HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The U.S. military servicemember accused of pledging an oath of allegiance to the Islamic State will remain in police custody without bail, a federal judge said Thursday.
A set of new photos released by federal prosecutors appear to show 34-year-old Ikaika Kang – a Hawaii-raised soldier and veteran of American wars in Iraw and Afghanistan – holding a rifle and kissing the terror group's flag.
The evidence was presented during a detention hearing at U.S. District Court in Honolulu, where prosecutors argued that Kang's 'zealous support of the world's most violent terrorist group' made him a threat to public safety.
"The investigation in this case has revealed that Kang spends exhaustive hours watching video depictions of ISIS members killing innocent persons in the most heinous of manners," prosecutors wrote, saying Kang would be an 'overwhelming danger' to the public if released.
Kang's defense attorney did not oppose the federal government's motion to detain his client without bail, telling reporters after the hearing that Kang was in desperate need of a mental health evaluation.
"I think it's pretty clear that Sgt. Kang was a decorated American soldier for 10 years," said attorney Birney Bervar. "It looks to me like they've exploited his mental illness and just thrown gasoline on the fire of his mental illness.
"(Undercover investiagors) just pushed him and pushed him and pushed him," he added.
A former Army associate told the Associated Press on Thursday that Kang – an active-duty air traffic controller stationed at Schofield Barracks – believed the moon landing was faked and that the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City were staged by the U.S. goverment.
The suspect's father told Hawaii News Now earlier this week that his son converted to Islam following tours of duty in the Middle East – tours that he believed left his son suffering the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.